The following article was published in today’s edition of the Bermuda Sun
Gazing off into the distance, a large kite breaks the sky as it’s pilot rides at the helm of a board not that much different then a wakeboard. Swiftly maneuvering around a wave, the rider arcs his kite high into the sky as he is launched to a height reminiscent of picking coconuts. Pulling hard on the steering bar controlling his kite, he flips his body in a motion similar to an inverted back flip, then gracefully touches down. As his board once again rides along the water, he resumes his jaunt, skirting in and amongst the waves, making it look easy.
Think Bermuda is boring in the winter? Think again. While many complain as the air grows cool and the nightlife slows to a scene of haunting semblance, those with a thirst for adrenaline wake to a winter of extreme fun, riding the waves, making the most of the ideal wind conditions that Bermuda’s winters bring.
Back on the beach, you grasp a bar and do a final check of the straps to your harness, your safety release and the lines leading to your kite. The wind blows across your face as you turn to look along the lines down to your colleague, who steadies the kite as it hangs in wait. The quick jerk of a wind gust causes you to steady your stance before you flash a thumbs up signal to indicate your readiness. Pulling on the bar, you arc the kite up into the sky just as you are caught by another gust that lifts your feet an inch or two from the sand. As your feet once again touch the ground, you plant them deeply as you steady yourself to ensure control of the kite before proceeding.
Running sideways down the beach, you lean against the pull of the kite for a moment, reach down to curl your fingers around the handle of your board and step towards the water. You reach the waves as they crash against your body and fight the challenge of overcoming the incoming surf, all while being pulled further into the water by the kite that hangs in the sky above you. Sliding your feet into the board, you lay back and exhale as your mind clears and your heart races. Arcing the kite towards the water you feel a quick pull as you steer the board first downwind to gather speed, then gracefully turning upwind as you catch an edge and begin to ride atop the water.
Jutting in, out and through the waves, your knees bounce as you leap off the top of a wave for a small jump into the air. You swing the kite down towards the water as you swiftly gather more speed. Arcing your kite towards the sky for a larger jump you feel a sudden gust flick your ears as you realize you have mere hundredths of a second before being yanked into the sky. The gust quickly pulls your kite and combined with the momentum of it’s arc upwards, you’re suddenly hauled from your board and flying meters above the water. Losing your focus, you drop from the sky as you plunge deep into the water. Your head submerged, your first thought is to scramble to regain control of the kite or risk it crashing and costing yourself a week or two of missed kiting.
Still underwater, you quickly grasp and pull on the bar. Without being able to look, the tension on the lines tells you that your kite hangs above you and you’re quick to steady it as your head bobs to the surface. A smile breaks your face from ear to ear as you lean back to catch your breath. Floating for a moment, you realize that those who have kited for years may make it look effortless, but the heart pounding in your chest and your heavy breaths tell you that perhaps this sport isn’t as easy as you originally thought it might be. Swimming sideways for a moment you reach back to grasp your board and swing it around to slide your feet in again.
Rising up from the water, you once again jut among the waves. A smile again breaks your face as the realization hits you that dull winters are definitely going to be a thing of the past. Now that you’ve discovered the sport of Kiteboarding.